Myrtle's Favorite Spot

My mother called me in tears recently as she gave me the news no one wants to hear: My father’s lymphoma had returned. I was angry, confused, and heartbroken, crying on the phone with my mom for a few minutes.

After I hung up, I dealt with the situation in the only way I know how. I got up from my desk, took a walk, and started to pray. My stubborn, angry steps and my pleading, begging prayers unconsciously took me to one of the most underrated places at Unity Village—Myrtle Fillmore Grove.

Little is known about the origin of this peaceful spot made up of 14 catalpa trees about 100 yards northeast of the Activities Center. According to an undated and anonymous note in the Unity Archives (the only real mention of the grove anywhere), “There is no written or printed evidence, but it is assumed that Rick Fillmore built the grove in memory of his mother, Myrtle Fillmore, because it was her favorite place for meditation.” The grove was planted sometime in the 1930s.

Last year, the grove received a facelift. Workers poured a new concrete walkway and installed five benches and 12 inscribed boulders. The improvements were initiated by a gift from a Unity friend who loves to meditate there. The donation kicked off a plan to improve the grove, and other donations soon followed. Now that the facelift is complete, Myrtle Fillmore Grove will be rededicated at a ceremony during the upcoming Fillmore Festival, August 16–19.

When I stepped into the grove after the phone call with my mother, a strange stillness and quiet feeling came over me. I started to read the inscriptions on the boulders, stopping short as I read, “I just want to come in and have a visit with you.” For a half a second, I actually felt as though someone wanted to come sit down with me to talk.

Before I knew it, I was sitting on one of the benches, crying and praying. I was still sad, my emotions raw, but my prayer had changed. I was no longer pleading with a God “up there,” I was praying in the affirmative. I was talking out loud to someone, or Spirit, or my father—I don’t really know who or what. All I remember was saying, “God will heal you,” and “You are healed,” over and over again.

A week later my mother called again with amazing news: My father’s cancer is treatable. The worst-case scenario is that it becomes a chronic illness he will deal with for the rest of his life, and the best-case scenario is that he beats cancer again. I don’t know if it was Myrtle who wanted to “come in and have a visit” with me and pray as she so often used to do with people, or if it was some other presence, but I do know I was not alone that day.

Next time you are at the Village, take a little time to visit Myrtle Fillmore Grove and invite Spirit to come in and visit with you as well.

Author Biography: 

David PennerDavid Penner is the senior copy editor and proofreader for Unity World Headquarters. Prior to coming to Unity, he spent five and a half years as the editor of The Lexington Clipper-Herald in Lexington, Nebraska.